From the New Jersey Department of Health:
1,000 Patients with New Medical Conditions Added in Past Month
Trenton - The New Jersey Medicinal Marijuana Program is now serving 20,000 patients, including 1,000 individuals who have one of five new categories of medical conditions added in the past month.
Of the 1,000 new patients, 500 have chronic pain, 400 have been diagnosed with anxiety, 90 suffer from migraines and 5 have Tourette’s Syndrome. There are also nearly 900 caregivers enrolled in the program who can help patients who are too ill or otherwise unable to travel to dispensaries to obtain medicinal marijuana.
A total of 1,500 patients have joined the program in the past month and 4,200 have joined since the Murphy Administration began on January 16, 2018.
"We’re adding 100 new patients every day,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Shereef Elnahal. “This demonstrates that there was pent up demand. People with chronic pain now have the option of medicinal marijuana instead of opioids, and more than 100 strains are available.”
Approximately 600 physicians are now participating in the program, including 50 physicians who joined in the last month. As part of an effort to educate physicians about the program, the Department will produce a webinar and Dr. Elnahal will conduct grand rounds lectures later this spring for medical students, residents, physicians, nurses, faculty members and leaders at hospitals and medical schools around the state. Dr. Elhanal will discuss recent research, changes the Administration has made in the program, as well as the patients and medical conditions that are appropriate for treatment with medicinal marijuana.
The Commissioner will be conducting Grand Rounds lectures at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Brunswick; Hackensack Meridian Health Hackensack University Medical Center; and St. Joseph’s University Medical Center in Paterson.
Other changes that have been made to the program in the past month include adding mobile access, lowering the biennial patient registration fee from $200 to $100 and adding veterans and seniors--65 and older--to the list of those who qualify for the $20 discounted registration fee. Those on government assistance, including federal disability, already receive the reduced fee.
Mobile access was one of more than 20 legislative, regulatory and programmatic reforms to change the culture of the program that were contained in a report Commissioner Elnahal submitted to Governor Murphy in response to Executive Order 6, which directed a comprehensive review of the program within 60 days. Governor Murphy detailed the roadmap for reform during a press conference on March 27, 2018.
The Department has also granted one Alternative Treatment Center (ATC) permission to expand its Bellmawr operation and five requests are pending from three ATCs for satellite locations.
The Department is also investing $50,000 in a public awareness campaign to let physicians and patients know that it has expanded the medical conditions and view the program as an important medical therapy to relieve pain and reduce the likelihood that patients will rely on and become addicted to opioids. The campaign will feature paid social media, a radio Public Service Announcement from the Commissioner and online advertising.
Consumers, physicians, and anyone with questions about the program can email inquiries to MMPquestions@doh.nj.gov. Frequently Asked Questions are also available on the Department’s medical marijuana webpage for patients, physicians and Alternative Treatment Centers. For additional information about medical marijuana in New Jersey, please visit: http://www.nj.gov/health/medicalmarijuana